Gatekeeper killed by tiger at Bannerghatta

He had entered the enclosure to clean it

Gatekeeper killed by tiger at Bannerghatta

A 35-year-old gatekeeper was mauled to death by two white tiger cubs at the Bannerghatta Biological Park on Saturday.

Anjaneya, known in zoo circles as Anji, had entered the tiger enclosure to clean it.

“Each enclosure has two animal keepers. Today, one of them didn’t turn up for work and Anji was sent in his place,” Dharuvaiah, Anjaneya’s brother-in-law, said.

The 11-month-old cubs pounced on Anjaneya when he was in the passage. Before he could recover, he was mauled to death, a staffer told DH.

Anjaneya was a contract employee and lived in the Hakki Pikki colony on the fringe of the Bannerghatta national park. He is survived by his wife and two sons. He was the family’s sole breadwinner, and was taking care of his elderly parents.

Punati Sridhar, principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife), said the cause of the death was yet to be ascertained.

Security lapses and negligence will be investigated, according to B P Ravi, member-secretary, Zoo Authority of Karnataka.

“Though born in captivity, these cubs have wild instincts. The animals could have attacked him thinking he would take away their food,” he said.

Their mother Soubhagya is ailing, and so they are kept in a separate area.

Ravi said the Zoo Authority of Karnataka would review the safety of the animals and their keepers. “We will also look at the housing areas,” he said.

Cops turned kin away

Gatekeeper Anjaneya was asked to stand in for a regular animal keeper on Saturday, the day he was mauled to death, according to Dharuvaiah, his brother-in-law.

“They aked him to feed the animals, but had given him no training,” he said.

Anjaneya’s body was taken away in an ambulance, and the family kept in the dark about where it was headed, Dharuvaiah told DH.
Santosh Kumar, executive director of the Bannerghatta Biological Park, said Anjaneya had been asked to clean the enclosure and carry the meat, but had gone out of his way to do more.

“We have only one eyewitness, a senior employee called Huchche Gowda,” he said. “Our conclusions will be based on what he saw.”

Santosh Kumar suspects the accident occurred because of confusion over which gates to open and close. He said he had been busy with the Bannerghatta police, who have registered a case, and would visit Anjaneya’s house on Sunday.

Earlier reports said park officials had paid the family Rs 5 lakh as compensation, but Santosh Kumar said the information was incorrect.
A security guard, Anjaneya was posted as gatekeeper only on October 1.

Dharuvaiah said the family would seek a government job for Anjaneya’s 18-year-old son.

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